Islamabad: An Indian national facing execution after being convicted of spying in Pakistan has sought clemency from the country’s army chief, the Pakistani military said in a statement Thursday.
Kulbushan Sudhir Jadhav was arrested in the southwestern province of Balochistan last year and Pakistani officials claim he has confessed to spying for Indian intelligence services. He was found guilty in a closed hearing in April.
“Seeking forgiveness for his actions he has requested the Chief of Army Staff to spare his life on compassionate grounds,” the statement said.
Commander Kulbushan Sudhir Jadhav, the serving Indian Naval Officer who has been sentenced to death on charges of espionage, sabotage and terrorism has made a mercy petition to the Chief of Army Staff. In his plea, Commander Jadhav has admitted his involvement in espionage, terrorist and subversive activities in Pakistan and expressed remorse at the resultant loss of many precious innocent lives and extensive damage to property due to his actions. Seeking forgiveness for his actions he has requested the Chief of Army Staff to spare his life on compassionate grounds. Commander Jhadev had earlier appealed to the Military Appellate Court which was rejected. Under the law he is eligible to appeal for clemency to the COAS (which he has done)and if rejected, subsequently to the President of Pakistan. His second confessional video, in which he can be seen accepting his acts of terrorism and espionage is also released so that the world should know what India has done and continues to do against Pakistan.
Posted by Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor on Thursday, June 22, 2017
But India has maintained Jadhav is not a spy, and that he was kidnapped by Pakistan. It lodged a case against Islamabad in the International Court of Justice (ICTJ) in The Hague last month.
New Delhi has accused Islamabad of violating the Vienna Convention by denying him consular access to Indian officials.
The ICTJ has since ordered Pakistan to stay the execution until the UN court passes final judgement in the case.
The nuclear arch-rivals routinely accuse one another of sending spies into their countries, and it is not uncommon for either nation to expel diplomats accused of espionage, particularly at times of high tension.
However death sentences have rarely been issued in such cases in recent years. In 2013 an Indian national on death row for spying in Pakistan was killed in jail after being attacked by fellow inmates. Sarabjit Singh had been on death row for 16 years.
Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest but least developed province, has been battling a years-long separatist insurgency that the army has repeatedly characterised as “terrorism” promoted by hostile states such as India.